A big, untold story: online videos of Jews explaining why they believe Jesus is the Messiah have been viewed more than 23 million times. Here’s the latest. (Update)


“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” — the Apostle Paul (Romans 1:16)

With so much bad news in the U.S., Israel, Russia and around the world these days, I thought it might be good to kick off 2017 with some very good news.

Here, then, is an update to a column I published on September 22, 2015 about “a big, untold story” that “the media isn’t reporting” but is very much “worth examining.”

“Millions of Jews have begun a quest to find the Messiah,” I wrote at the time, based on conversations with key Messianic Jewish ministry leaders in the U.S. and Israel. “For reasons I cannot fully explain, Jews are suddenly searching for answers to the deepest and most important questions concerning life and death and God and atonement and eternity, in numbers unprecedented in history. Some are searching through the Hebrew Scriptures for answers. A stunning number are actually reading the New Testament, most for the first time. They are searching on Google for information about the Messiah. They are even watching a new series of videos by Jews who claim to have found the answers. The videos — some of which have gone viral — were produced and posted on a new website called www.imetmessiah.com.”

The numbers as of September 2015 were nothing short of astonishing. “More than 10 million people have watched these [English-language testimony] videos just in the past few months,” I explained, while “more than 900,000 Hebrew speakers have watched the Hebrew-language versions of these videos in just the past four months.”

Since then, however — despite the stigma in the Jewish community against consider the claims of Jesus — the videos have continued to go viral and are surging beyond anything I would have imagined.

Eitan Bar, a native Israeli and a devoted follower of Yeshua, heads a team that is producing the videos and helping to develop digital evangelism strategies for two ministries, One For Israel (based in Israel and led by Dr. Erez Soref) and Chosen People Ministries (based in the U.S. and led by Dr. Mitch Glaser). Recently, I asked Eitan if he had updated figures.

Here’s what he told me (and has now posted in an online report):

Eitan’s online report also includes numerous encouraging quotes by Jews who have been watching the videos and either started their own spiritual journeys to figure out who Jesus (Yeshua) is or who have actually become His followers.

A few examples:

  • “Finally, I have reached the destination I was looking for, for years! …I considered myself to be an atheist for a long while, resisting any kind of explanation of God. Until, I came across your video about who Jesus is, that you did in Jerusalem. My jaw dropped. So I decided to keep away from your videos so not to fall for it. But, like a cat who is drawn to the taste of cream, I wanted more. Everyday I would visit your websites to watch more and more of your video teachings. I found truth and endless love that I never came across in Judaism. Thank you so, so much!” — a Jewish woman in her 40s who lives in central Israel
  • “I found Yeshua on YouTube, through one of your advertised videos about the falsehood of the rabbinic oral law. I felt that I had to check what it is all about and found a whole new world!! Yeshua changed my life and I’m thankful to Him and to you because of it. I feel that my life was saved. All the information in your videos is so rich in content, pleasant to watch, and the way you explain things is so good that I came to that moment in my life of understanding who Yeshua really is. I thank you from the depth of my soul! I want more Jews to know the truth, which is that Yeshua is the Messiah who we’ve been waiting for all along!” — a young Jewish man who works in Jerusalem
  • “First, I have no words to thank you (Eitan) and Moti for the articles and videos. I saw your video-ad on YouTube a year or two ago, but when I realized that it’s all about “Christianity” and “Jesus”, I switched it off. Lately, I came across your videos once again, and it grabbed me so I decided to read the prophecies in the Old Testament. I was surprised to find out they all point to Yeshua . Then I wanted to find out about the lifestyle of Messianic Jews – how do you live your lives – only to realize that it’s not about what we do, but about what’s inside, the change is inside the heart.  …I found our Messiah and two days ago gave Him my heart.” — an Orthodox Jewish man

It’s amazing to think how few Jewish people have ever examined the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, the most famous Israeli in all of human history. Fortunately, that’s changing now.

As a Jewish follower of Yeshua myself, I am thrilled to see the Lord using these websites, videos and social media to spread the Gospel so broadly and so rapidly throughout Israel via Hebrew and throughout the English speaking world.

While surely many Gentiles are watching the English language videos, many Jews are watching them, too. What’s more, we can be confident that the vast majority of those watching the Hebrew language videos are Jews. This suggests the possibility that in a world of about 14.5 million Jewish people — including about six million Jews in Israel — more Jewish people have been exposed to the Gospel of Yeshua the Messiah in the last two or three years than in any other two to three year period in human history.

Would you be praying for each and every person that has watched, that the Lord would be drawing him or her to His heart? Would you be praying for all the people that work for these and related ministries for continued boldness, wisdom and discernment, and the Lord’s spiritual and physical protection? Also, would you share these videos on your Facebook pages, and through Twitter and other social media so that they are seen by even more people in 2017? Might you even consider giving financially to such ministries?

Thanks so much — may the Lord bless you and your family as you give Jews and Gentiles the opportunity to hear the Gospel for themselves and make their own personal decision for or against Yeshua!



A new bipartisan move, led by Senators Rubio & Cardin, is underway in Congress to defend Israel against UN Resolution 2334. This is encouraging. Here’s the latest.


There is good news to report as 2017 begins.

With Members of Congress back in Washington to begin a new legislative session, a major bipartisan effort is now underway in both chambers to counter U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334, the anti-Israel measure President Obama shamefully refused to veto just before Hanukkah and Christmas.

I commend my friend, Sen. Marco Rubio, the Florida Republican, and Sen. Ben Cardin, the Maryland Democrat, for leading this effort to defend Israel, America’s most faithful and loyal ally in the Middle East. Today, they introduced a Senate resolution with broad bipartisan support that strongly opposes the actions taken by the U.N. and the Obama administration and lays out a positive American agenda towards Israel and the peace process with the Palestinians going forward. In the House, a similar resolution has been introduced by Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY),  which I also commend.

President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence have, to their credit, denounced UNSC Resolution 2334. If they move quickly to enact the Rubio-Cardin recommendations, these will be steps in the right direction.

We need a new way forward on U.S. policy towards Israel and the Palestinians. The Obama-Clinton-Kerry approach was a disaster.

Like most of my fellow Evangelicals, I want there to be a peaceful resolution of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. I support good faith efforts to bring healing and reconciliation between both sides and I am praying to that end. After all, in the Scriptures the Psalmist commands us to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” What’s more, our Lord Jesus Christ instructed us, “Blessed are the peacemakers.”

Therefore, I believe there should be direct peace talks between both sides at the highest levels. The talks should be serious and constructive and hopefully lead to the end of the conflict and real protection of Israel’s rights and security needs balanced with real protection for Palestinian human rights and civil rights and security needs. Unfortunately, since 2009 the Palestinian leadership has consistently refused Israel’s oft-repeated offers for direct bilateral negotiations. They also brought the Hamas terror organization into their government and have supported two rocket wars against Israel.

This is no way to make peace. Nor is the UN’s attempt to force a solution on Israel. We must vigorously oppose any and all efforts by the U.N. and other international bodies to dictate terms to Israel, or unilaterally declare illegal Israel’s legitimate claim to Jerusalem, the Biblical and eternal capital of the Jewish people. We must also strongly oppose every effort by the UN and others to delegitimize Israel and isolate her through boycotts, sanctions and divestment (ie, the “BDS” movement). Such efforts are unfair, unjust, and counter-productive. They make peace more difficult to achieve, not easier.

All that said, let me be clear: strongly supporting Israel’s freedom and security against Radical Islamic terrorism and international anti-Semitism and injustice does NOT mean a person has to be against the Palestinian people. Christ commanded us to love our neighbors and our enemies. We can — and should — love the Palestinians, and want a better life for them, and pray for their welfare, and support serious efforts to improve their lives and defend their rights and freedoms against injustices of all kinds. Indeed, Christians outside the region can — and should — pray for the Palestinian people personally, and get to know personally our Palestinian brothers and sisters in Christ. We should work to understand their needs, and develop sincere friendships, stand with them against poverty and terror and injustice, and encourage them as they proclaim the Gospel to their people and shine the light of Christ in the darkness. The Scriptures are crystal clear: God loves the Jewish and Palestinian people dearly, and so must we.

Here’s the full text of the statement issued by Sen. Rubio, with a link to the full text of the Rubio-Cardin Senate resolution — I commend both to your attention:

U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) today introduced a Senate resolution objecting to the passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, as well as all efforts that undermine direct, bilateral negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians for a secure and peaceful settlement. They are joined in this effort by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Bob Casey (D-PA), Chris Coons (D-DE), John Cornyn (R-TX), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Dean Heller (R-NV), John McCain (R-AZ), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Rob Portman (R-OH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Todd Young (R-IN).

“Efforts to delegitimize Israel have been underway a long time at the United Nations and have now sadly been aided by the outgoing administration, but the time has come to turn back the tide and renew America’s commitment to the Jewish state,” said Rubio. “When it comes to the U.S.-Israel alliance, we believe that senators of both parties must stand firmly with Israel and condemn efforts to undermine Israel’s legitimacy. This resolution expresses the Senate’s rejection of continued anti-Israel efforts at the United Nations, reiterates our commitment to Israel, and urges the incoming administration to work with Congress on this issue.”

“I am deeply disappointed that the U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 2334, which is a one-sided text that makes direct negotiations for a two-state solution more challenging.  Our Senate Resolution sends the message that the U.S.-Israel partnership is ironclad,” said Cardin.  “Going forward, Congress will take action against efforts at the UN or beyond that use Resolution 2334 to target Israel.  I hope that in 2017 we can look at policies and actions that facilitate resumption of direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, and I stand ready to support productive efforts.”

“The decision taken by the President to abstain from this vote–to fail to act on behalf of an ally represents a failure of leadership and judgment. It is highly regrettable that one of President Obama’s last actions in office was again to abandon our ally Israel,” said McConnell. “As this resolution notes, the United Nations is not the appropriate venue for dictating parameters for a two state solution, this can only come from direct negotiations between the parties.”

“Since the days of ‘Zionism is racism,’ the U.N. has been a fervently anti-Israel body and, unfortunately, that bias has never diminished. Knowing this, past administrations – both Democrat and Republican – have protected Israel from the vagaries of this biased institution,” said Schumer. “Unfortunately, by abstaining on United Nations Resolutions 2334, this administration has not followed in that path. This Senate resolution reaffirms that peace must come through direct negotiations in order to achieve a sustainable two-state solution.”

A PDF of the resolution is available here. The resolution:

  • Expresses grave objection to United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 (2016);
  • Calls for United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 to be repealed or fundamentally altered so that it is no longer one-sided and allows all final status issues toward a two-state solution to be resolved through direct bilateral negotiations between the parties;
  • Rejects efforts by outside bodies, including the United Nations Security Council, to impose solutions from the outside that set back the cause of peace;
  • Demands that the United States ensure that no action is taken at the Paris Conference on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict scheduled for January 15, 2017, that imposes an agreement or parameters on the parties;
  • Notes that granting membership and statehood standing to the Palestinians at the United Nations, its specialized agencies, and other international institutions outside of the context of a bilateral peace agreement with Israel would cause severe harm to the peace process, and would likely trigger the implementation of penalties under sections 7036 and 7041(j) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016 (division K of Public Law 114–113);
  • Rejects any efforts by the United Nations, United Nations agencies, United Nations member states, and other international organizations to use United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 to further isolate Israel through economic or other boycotts or any other measures, and urges the United States Government to take action where needed to counter any attempts to use United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 to further isolate Israel;
  • Urges the current presidential administration and all future presidential administrations to uphold the practice of vetoing all United Nations Security Council resolutions that seek to insert the Council into the peace process, recognize unilateral Palestinian actions including declaration of a Palestinian state, or dictate terms and a timeline for a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict;
  • Reaffirms that it is the policy of the United States to continue to seek a sustainable, just, and secure two-state solution to resolve the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians; and
  • Urges the incoming Administration to work with Congress to create conditions that facilitate the resumption of direct, bilateral negotiations without preconditions between Israelis and Palestinians with the goal of achieving a sustainable agreement that is acceptable to both sides.

[This column is based on my personal beliefs and opinions. I share them in my personal capacity as an American citizen and an author. They do not reflect the views of The Joshua Fund, which is a non-profit organization and takes no political or legislative positions.]



Threats To Watch In 2017 — #1: Putin is massing 55,000 troops on border of Ukraine & threatening the Baltic States. NATO looks weak. What the Trump-Pence team should do immediately.

withoutwarning-joel-videoAs 2017 begins and the Trump-Pence administration is set to take office in Washington, what are the major threats that should be on your radar screen? What could potentially hit us without warning if we and our leaders are not paying close attention?

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be writing a series of columns on this topic. But as I’ve been doing research over the past few months for a new novel about Russia, I have come to believe that the threat Moscow now poses to the U.S. and our allies is real and growing.

Here’s the transcript of a new video blog I’ve just posted:

One thing I’m concerned about is Vladimir Putin. I believe that Vladimir Putin and the way he’s leading Russia is going to be a big, big issue over the next several years. And I must say I’m cautiously pessimistic at the moment with the way the President-elect is dealing with this.

Right now, we keep hearing very warm, kind words about Mr. Putin from Mr. Trump. This may be a negotiating tactic, right? You have a President-elect who is known for “The Art of the Deal.” So he may be trying to send a positive signal early on to Putin to say, “Hey, listen, we don’t have to have a bad relationship. I’m willing to start in a positive way. But we’re going to have some serious issues that we’re going to have to talk about.”

That’s possible.

I would note that it’s a different strategy than Mr. Trump is taking with Iran. It’s a different strategy than he’s taking with China. It’s a much softer approach, and it suggests the other possibility — not that it’s a negotiating tactic, but that it’s really what Mr. Trump believes, that Putin is not a threat.

If that’s the case, I totally disagree.

Mr. Putin is a threat. He’s already invaded and seized part of the nation state of Georgia. He’s already invaded and seized Crimea. He’s already invaded and seized Eastern Ukraine. And now he has 55,000 Russian troops massed on the border of Ukraine and [not far from] the three Baltic States — Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia.

Is Putin going to invade and try to seize those countries as well?

We don’t know that yet, right? But there are very few NATO troops there right now in the Baltics, and yet those are NATO allies.

So, when you have a Russian leader who has shown as much aggression in recent years as Putin has, and you’re not doing more to build up U.S. and NATO forces — including mechanized ground forces, mechanized divisions — inside the Baltics to make sure that Putin doesn’t seem them as an easy grab; when you’re sending messages that seem very soft and conciliatory towards Russia; then you run the risk of being blindsided by an evil you don’t see.

I just hope and pray that the new President of the United States and his team will take countering that threat posed by Putin as seriously as they’re taking the China, North Korea and Radical Islam threats, as well.


CRITICAL ISSUES: Ukraine is a key ally of the U.S. and the Western alliance, but it is not a NATO ally. NATO is not obligated to come to her defense. But the Trump-Pence team needs to decide how it would handle a Russian move to seize all of Ukraine.

The Baltic States, meanwhile, are full NATO allies. A Russian invasion would trigger Article V of the NATO treaty. This would require a full-scale military response by the U.S. and the rest of the European countries who are members of NATO. This could quickly escalate to a nuclear confrontation. To do nothing — to abandon the Baltics to the Kremlin — would mean the end of NATO. No ally around the world would ever trust their alliances with the U.S. again. It could mean the collapse of U.S. global leadership. Clearly, the stakes are high.

RECOMMENDATIONS: The Trump-Pence team have a clear domestic  agenda that involves turbo-charging the U.S. economy and creating millions of new jobs, ending illegal immigration and protecting America’s borders. On foreign policy, their top priorities are dealing with China and challenges in Asia, and confronting Radical Islam. The President elect understandably does not show any interest in a confrontation with Russia.

It is important, then, that President Trump immediately and significantly increases NATO air and ground forces — and missile defenses — in and around the Baltics and Poland, as well as in Germany and France upon taking office. He needs to make it absolutely clear to Putin that we will fully support our NATO allies and will not countenance any hostile action against them. Should the Baltics be left essentially unprotected, Putin — an emerging Czar with imperialist appetites — may find himself tempted to strike.

The RAND Corporation report suggests that “a force of about seven brigades, including three heavy armored brigades — adequately supported by airpower, land-based fires, and other enablers on the ground and ready to fight at the onset of hostilities — could suffice to prevent the rapid overrun of the Baltic states.” The report notes that “while not sufficient to mount a sustained defense of the region or to achieve NATO’s ultimate end state of restoring its members’ territorial integrity, such a posture would fundamentally change the strategic picture as seen from Moscow.”

I would leave the decision for the precise force structure to incoming Defense Secretary James Mattis, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and our NATO allied commanders. But in principle I agree with the direction RAND is suggesting. We want to focus on China/Asia and Radical Islam. We want to avoid a conflict with Putin in Europe. Thus, we must strengthen NATO immediately to maintain our options.

Then the President should start a very focused process of insisting that each NATO country fully invest 2% of their annual GDP on defense spending. That’s what they promised to do when they joined the alliance. It’s high time each country pay its fair share.